English | Literary Interpretation
L202 | 12566 | Bonnie Erwin

Bonnie Erwin

12566 - 10:10a-11:00a MWF (25 students) 3 cr., IW

Open to majors and minors only.

TOPIC:  "Writing Gender"

As students of literature, one of our most enduring areas of
investigation is the way in which texts both reflect and shape the
cultures that produce them; this cultural function of literature is
particularly noticeable in the construction of gender identity.  For
centuries, literature has helped to comment upon and to direct our
ideas about masculinity and femininity, about the relationship
between gender and power, and about the spectrum of sexualities that
we imagine as intimately bound up with gender identity.  In this
course, we will trace these constantly shifting ideas about gender
across a range of British and American literature from the
fourteenth to the late twentieth century, and our readings will
enable us to practice fundamentals of literary interpretation across
several genres, including poetry, drama, and fiction (primarily the
novel and its precursor, the romance).  We will begin with Sir
Gawain and the Green Knight and end with Danzy Senna’s Caucasia.
Between these two endpoints we will cover a range of texts
including: poetry by authors like Thomas Wyatt, Katherine Phillips,
Christina Rosetti and Alfred, Lord Tennyson; drama by Oscar Wilde
and Caryl Churchill; and fiction by Aphra Behn and Jane Austen.
In order to satisfy the goals of the Intensive Writing requirement,
we will also devote considerable time to practicing skills of
written literary interpretation.  Grades for the course will be
based on 3 major papers, several quizzes, attendance and active
participation in class discussion.